(Paris - 29 September, 2010) Paris has played a significant role in Bentley’s history and is set to do so again with the new Continental GT making its official public debut at the prestigious Mondial de l’Automobile tomorrow.
“Paris was the perfect stage for Bentley to show the first Continental GT concept in 2002. The public reaction to this bold, original design statement inspired us to bring the GT to life. It is exciting and fitting to begin this new chapter in the Continental story in the city that launched the first car in such style,” comments Alasdair Stewart, Member of the Board for Sales and Marketing.
Since that first, high-impact Paris debut in 2002 over 46,000 Continentals (of which nearly half have been the GT coupe) have been built by Bentley’s craftsmen and women at the Crewe factory in Cheshire, England. The GT quickly established a reputation for stirring high performance, handcrafted luxury and everyday practicality and usability.
The new Continental GT unveiled in Paris tomorrow builds on this success with the W12 engine now producing even more power (575 PS / 567 bhp / 423 kW) and torque (700 Nm / 516 lb ft) as well as even sharper acceleration times throughout the range. The luxurious cabin offers increased stowage space, an additional 46 mm of legroom for back-seat passengers and a state-of-the-art 30 GB infotainment system supported by touchscreen technology.
But perhaps most dramatic of all is the 2011 GT’s appearance.
This new Continental takes its design inspiration from the original GT which in turn was inspired by the 1950s R-Type Continental but moves the story on. Signature styling cues remain but the sculptured new body, produced using the latest construction techniques, delivers even crisper, more highly defined feature lines and form to every area of the exterior design. The GT’s new look is bolder and more athletic than ever before.
Bentley Motors is also releasing pricing today (see table below) and has confirmed that deliveries to customers will start in the first quarter of 2011. The company’s dealer network will be able to support customers wishing to place orders from next month onwards.
2011 CONTINENTAL GT – PRICING
|US DOLLAR||$189,900 MSRP|
· All prices are exclusive of delivery charges
The 2011 Continental GT will be at the Paris Show (2-18 October), Stand 112, Hall 4, Porte de Versailles and for further information about the car please visit www.continentalGT.com
Notes to editors – The Bentley Continental
To a certain degree, all Bentleys are "Continentals", in so much as W O Bentley and his successors would take cars to the Continent to test them on the long, empty straight roads that did not exist in the United Kingdom at that time.
These early but exacting test drives conducted by W O Bentley played a significant part in shaping the driving characteristics of all subsequent Bentley models - they would become renowned for their effortless ability to cover long distances at sports car speeds but without making any compromises when it came to passenger comfort.
But strictly speaking Bentleys bearing the Continental legend are - and have been - specially designed two-door, 4-seat models intended to have more performance than their saloon counterparts. They combine the qualities of luxury and bespoke craftsmanship for which the marque is known with a distinctive sporting look.
The first officially named Continental was announced in 1952, and it soon impressed the world. It was then the fastest four-seat car available; a smooth and graceful machine with an assertive Bentley radiator and gently tapering lines toward the rear that spoke of good aerodynamics and even better aesthetics. It was immediately recognised as a classic design, and the few that were made rarely change hands, as owners appreciate them for their driving qualities as well as for their beauty.
H J Mulliner and Co of London built 208 magnificent lightweight, aerodynamic R‑Type Continental bodies mounted on the R-type chassis from 1952-55 – a definite high-point in the renowned coachbuilder’s long and distinguished relationship with the winged-B marque.
The S-Type Continental of 1955 inherited the 4.9 Litre 6 cylinder engine, but that gave way to the larger V8 in the S2 as other makers sought to take Bentley's crown with more powerful models. None has ever really measured up to a Bentley Continental, however.
In July 1984 the Continental name returned to the Bentley stable with the Mulliner Park Ward Bentley version of the Rolls-Royce Corniche Convertible. Then in 1991 the Geneva Motor show witnessed the dramatic arrival of the new Continental R, a unique-to-Bentley 2 door coupe powered by the Turbo R 6.75 Litre V8. This iconic car lead in 1994 to the limited edition ‘S’ version with up-rated power output, the Azure Convertible in 1995, the shorter chassis ‘T’ in 1996 with more than 400 bhp, and the Targa roofed ‘SC’ in 1998.
In 2002 Bentley returned to the Paris show with Dirk van Braeckel’s compelling new vision for the Continental marque. The GT coupe would go into production in late 2003 and such was the strength of the original engineering and design proposition it inspired Bentley to create a 600 bhp GT Speed stablemate, the convertible Continental GTC as well as the recently launched 621 bhp Supersports – a muscular 204 mph supercar capable of sprinting to 0-60 mph in just 3.7 seconds.
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